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Michael Nesmith stood at the forecastle of the video ship, sailing her into port with the production of this comedy album/collection of video clips, "Elephant Parts." Yes, some of the comedy is a little dated; some of it is just plain silly. But Michael never claimed it was anything more than silly; plus, amidst all the late 70's jokes you'll find the extreme timelessness of his opening monologue, discussing the fact that "there's something funny about the gasoline prices!" rings hysterically true today, as does "The Large Detroit Car Company." The words of his closing song, "Tonite," also speak to a 2000's audience.
Enclosed with these comedy skits are five of Michael Nesmith's video clips, some of the best videos ever made in a time when video was truly its own standalone art form--made by the pioneer of video art. "Light," "Magic," and "Cruisin'" are all from Nesmith's "Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma" album (as is the above-mentioned "Tonite"), with "Cruisin'" being remembered fondly for its quirky lyrics and a young Hulk Hogan in his first major role. "Rio" is from the album "From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing," and was probably the first major video clip release (although groups from the 60's had been doing it since, well, The Monkees cribbed from The Beatles). "Rio" is funny, it is thoughtful, and it is brilliant.Read more ›
While the five music videos for Nesmith's songs "Rio," "Cruisin'," "Light," "Magic," and "Tonite" are well done, the comedy bits in between are a mixed bag: some are amusing, others are dated (as old SNL sketches are) and others just aren't funny at all. I don't think the sketch about homemade nuclear bombs would fly in today's post-9/11 world.
Overall, the video is well-done, considering it was made on a shoestring budget (Nesmith had just started his Pacific Arts record label/video company a few years earlier).
The DVD has an interesting commentary track by Nesmith, which was apparently made in the early-to-mid 1990s. There is also a gallery of photo stills, but caution: it does not play on all DVD units (it would not play on my DVD recorder, which kept defaulting to the film itself, but played fine on my portable DVD player).
Overall, 3 1/2 stars.
it's easily best known for it's handful of archetypal music videos. Nesmith is of course almost as famous for his pioneering efforts with this art-form as he is for The Monkees. the biggest hit to result is easily "Rio," with it's lavish deamscape version of a South American paradise. but i think my favorite is the closing number, "Tonight," with it's wonderfully confessional lyrics: "living inside of a little glass room, living inside of the tube..."
but the music is maybe a third of the story. allying himself with (most significantly) songwriter Bill Martin ("Saturday Night") and Hollywood director-to-be William Dear (Harry & The Hendersons), Nesmith spins a delightfully nutty "stream of consciousness" in the vein of Monty Python's Flying Circus. as i've already stated in another review, one of the things i love about The Monkees tv series was a decided Pythonesque sensibility. my one (semi)regret about Elephant Parts is that Mike didn't invite Micky Dolenz or Peter Tork to join in the fun.
the "fun" in question includes...
"The Pirate Alphabet": I as in what one is left with when one wears an eyepatch, O as in the sound you make when you get stabbed, that sort of thing.
the satrical gameshow "Name That Drug."
"Super Marine," in which the case for joining is stated by, let's just say, not the person they had in mind.
"Who Wants To Know?," a talkshow on which a battered wife gives advise to fellow battered wives: "keep it simple, salt, pepper, butter, sage..."
"Vegetarian Safari," in which a non-carnivore finds a novel way to stalk his own prey.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was one of my all-time favorite videos on VHS. In this DVD version (at least on our player,) the sound balance during 80-90% of the songs was catastrophically bad. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
You have to be into "80's" style humor, music and fun to get into this. It was produced in 1981 and it shows. That said I just love this stuff to death. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lawrence B. Ripp
I bought this as a Christmas gift for my son. The outcome remains to be seen. My son had asked for this a couple of years ago and I could not afford the cost. Read morePublished 9 months ago by D. Ricks
Still funny all these years later. Of course it looks a bit dated by today's standards, but when it first arrived, wow -- we'd really never seen anything like it, pre-MTV, etc. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Christopher Budny